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Pep-Talk Tuesday: Staring Down a Marathon

April 26, 2011

I actually don’t need much of a pep talk right now, but since I’m writing about an upcoming event and what I’m doing, physically, there might be some who get all inspired-like, and it’s Tuesday, so we’ll go with that kind of a post.

I’m firmly in the “taper period” prior to the Sunday marathon. Frankly, I don’t know what to expect . . . it’s the very first running of a very small marathon, one that just had a course change. I need to remember to start out slow. I need to remember that it’s me against the course, with just a bunch of other people about who don’t matter (they matter, individually, and I’m sure they all have people who love them & stuff; but I have to remind myself to not care about how anybody else on the course is running, unless they have a really cute butt . . . or pigtails. Pigtails and a really cute butt? I might abandon my “ignore everybody else” rule for). Like my first marathon, I’ll report back afterward with as many details as I can provide. I’m really, really excited, but since I know I’ve done it before, I’m not nearly as anxious about it.

My plan, like last time, is to keep moving. To finish. I know my time from my first marathon, and it’d be great to beat that time. It would be great to break five-hours. But, I really don’t care about either of those – I want to finish. To say that “I’ve run multiple marathons,” knowing that I’ll run more.

So, enough about that – check back for a full report – if I’m able to move & think, it will be up Sunday night. However, in the days leading to a marathon, you go through some major changes1. My last real run was two weeks ago, and this means that my legs are raring to go. I can’t “just walk,” I’m constantly fighting the urge to break out into song a run.

Running, it seems, though, is a major release of excess testosterone for me. While I’m normally Percy2, not having run in awhile means that I’m thinking about the sex all of the time. It’s absurd, like a 12 year old boy took a bottle of Viagra and then took over all of the thought-control parts of my brain.

Nowhere was this as evident as in my first Yoga class last night. I bought a Groupon for a month of unlimited classes at Just Plain Yoga. Last night was the perfect night for me to start. Typically, I need to kill a few hours between work & symphony rehearsal on Monday nights, so I stop by the local Appalachian Brewing Company where I drink beer and eat appetizers and trust that I’m keeping active enough to not have this affect me too negatively along the waist-line3.

I couldn’t drink beer, and I should be eating right, so I decided to start the Groupon. Class went well4. As we ended, the music was playing, and we were all lying down, on our backs . . . I’m sure the position has a name, but I don’t know what it is. Minutes passed, and my mind starts to wind down. I concentrate on how my body is feeling, I start pushing work out from my thought stream. I relax. I haven’t been running. I have excess testosterone. Earlier in the class, the instructor had us stand in “the tree” pose, but mentioned “stand on your left leg, grab your left foot, and place it on the opposite knee.” Chuckling ensued as she realized what she said, “that would mean you’re levitating.” Well, I was levitating – the lone guy in a room full of girls. I continued relaxing and eventually “the issue” came back down to earth . . . I normally have some control over certain aspects of biology, but you add the running taper to a relaxed state, and “something” was purely out of my control. *ahem*

So, aside from being a complete hornball a little ramped up all of the time, there’s the fact that my body is trying to figure out what the fuck I’m doing. I normally run all of the time, and I’m relaxing. So, I’m getting some weird cravings – cheese and salt. If I just listened to my body, I’d be eating cheddar-covered french fries all of the time, which sound really good right now. However, I’m still eating fruit & vegetables like they’re going out of style.

And, just because I’m cutting back on the running doesn’t mean I’m giving up completely. Normally, weekends are my “long runs.” This past Saturday, I had a fun bit of a day. Duffy worked out in the morning, so I had some time in the afternoon. I ran to the local Y (3.5 miles) where I swam 1000 yards, and then sat on a stationary cycle for 17 miles, and then did an upper-body weight circuit, and then ran 3.5 miles back. And I felt great! Seriously, there’s the little bit of an ego push that you get from knowing that you completed a Sprint Triathlon5, and there’s the kind of kick-ass feeling that you get from doing a true full body workout.

On the run over to the gym, I was running sub 9:30 miles (I’m aiming for 10:30/mile for the marathon), so I was ok. I absolutely love that, over time, I can see my per-mile time declining. What was 10:15 is now 9:00 if I’m pushing myself just a little bit. After the other stuff, I started running back . . . thinking I was staying very loose, planning on trying to keep my “marathon pace.” At mile marker 1, though, I had logged 9:45 . . . way too fast for Sunday. It’s a good feeling, but I need to remind myself to slow down.

This morning, I did a little bit of swimming, I’ll lift a little over lunch . . . I’ll keep on & off, keeping myself active but not quite pushing myself – the last thing I want is an injury, and I don’t want to exhaust myself prior to the marathon.

So, to recap, I’m Percy, I want cheesy french fries, I want to run, and I’m going to run another marathon on Sunday. Aside from the last bit, things really aren’t all that different on my side (I don’t run marathons every weekend, though I’ll admit that part of me wants to train my body to be able to do just that). I’m feeling pretty good about myself.


1 I just had a sudden flashback to middle school health class, watching a video where a stereotypically distant dad had “the talk” with his son while watching a game of baseball on TV – boys have a baseball bat & girls have a catcher’s mitt – it was a true work of cinematic art.

2 My iPhone autocorrects “pervy” to “Percy,” and when I’m emailing friends, from the iPhone, while drunk, this turns out pretty hilarious. I gladly wear my Percy nametag.

3 I ended up having to buy new, smaller in the waist, jeans, and I desperately need to buy new shorts. At my last job, I always had to wear dress pants, which meant that I always wore a belt. So, if my pants didn’t quite fit, I was able to make it work. At my new job, I wear jeans, which are great, but I don’t always wear a belt – and I realized that I was able to take my pants off without un-fastening the button. I’ve known that I’ve needed new pants for awhile – when I’m at home, I’m almost always wearing shorts because I’m always hot my legs deserve to be shown off I’m more comfortable that way, and if I’m not wearing a belt and I go to the grocery store – well, there’s a good chance fo ra full moon.

4 “Went well” means I didn’t fall over – this body is not flexible

5 I’ve been pretty confident that I wouldn’t have issues completing a sprint tri, and I have myself signed up for one in August, but it’s always better when you’ve actually done something, rather than being “pretty sure” you can complete it yourself.

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16 Comments
  1. When I first saw Percy I thought you were talking about a train engine. Clearly, I have a toddler.

    • I have a toddler, but miss most of the kid TV shows . . . while I want my kids to start talking (and I truly do), I know I’m going to have to spend time doing research on what they’re watching through the day so that I might understand them when I get home . . . and this frightens me.

  2. I can’t relax during yoga. I always get the giggles and I prefer maximum efficiency in my workouts. If sex is going to count, I better break a sweat.
    can’t wait to hear about your race. My second marathon was my least favorite but my best time. Run Percy Run.

    • We keep getting emails from the race director about last minute changes, so I’m not really sure what to anticipate for the marathon at this point – I’m just going to go with whatever. I’m guessing this will rank behind my first marathon just because it’s “not the first”, but we’ll see – I won’t be running with bronchitis.

      I started yoga as a non-workout: turn my brain off and see if I can get this non-flexible body to be a little more flexible.

      And? It’s not real sex if you’re not breaking a sweat.

  3. I think not having autocorrect is keeping my life from being complete.

    And I miss yoga. At least now I know not to wear pig-tails when I go to co-ed classes…

    Have a great run on Sunday!

    • Thanks! I’m really really looking forward to it.

      Autocorrect ends up being the bane of my existence whenever it’s not doing precisely what I want it to do, but I’m really pretty useless on the iPhone keyboard, hence, Percy.

  4. Pigtails. You know you love them

    Good luck on Sunday man!

  5. Percy. LOVE IT!
    And who doesn’t love some pig tails!

    And thank you John, good to know the finer details of your body’s conditions. #shakinghead
    Note to self: if doing yoga with John, keep eyes at face level.

    • Yeah, you know those filters that some people have, where you don’t talk about bodily functions or what they’re thinking? I don’t have that. Which is why you love me. :-p

  6. As if I wasn’t paranoid/self-conscious enough going to yoga class!

    • See, I’m incredibly self-conscious about what happened (despite my “me-ness,” I do get self conscious once every 3-4 years).

  7. I will be cheering for you on Sunday.

    While my ass is sitting on the couch.

    Remember to take at least a moment in the middle to soak it all in. And push yourself, but not to the point where you’re not enjoying yourself and proud of the endeavor itself.

    And other crap like that.

    I LOVE marathons and am jealous is what I’m trying to say.

    So go out there and Win One For the Gipper.

    Or just finish the damn race with a smile……

    YAY YOU!

    • Julie? i did almost precisely this – I’m feeling so incredibly good right now, still riding a high from everything.

      Thanks for the support!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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